How to Restore Destructive System Recovery on an HP


Although many computer problems can be fixed without reinstalling the operating system, some cannot. If a severe error, file system corruption or a virus has rendered your system completely inoperable, Destructive System Recovery can restore your computer to the exact state that it was in the day you brought it home. Use Destructive System Recovery to clear all data from the system and reinstall Windows if your HP computer has a problem that cannot be fixed through standard troubleshooting.

Things You'll Need

  • HP PC with Windows XP, Vista or 7
  • Turn the HP computer completely off.

  • Turn the computer back on, and immediately begin to repeatedly tap the "F10" key on the keyboard.

  • Choose the "Advanced" option on the recovery menu, then select "Destructive System Recovery." Choose "Next."

  • Choose "Yes" to confirm that you wish to perform a Destructive System Recovery. This process will utilize data stored on a hidden hard drive partition to reinstall Windows, along with all of the HP software that was originally included with the computer.

  • Use the Windows Update website to download operating system patches and updates after the recovery is complete. Then reinstall your backed up programs and files.

Tips & Warnings

  • If Windows is able to boot on your computer, you can access HP System Recovery by clicking on "Start," "All Programs," "HP Tools" and "HP PC System Recovery." The computer will restart and launch the recovery utility as described above. Most computer problems can be fixed if Windows is able to load, however, so this option is generally not recommended.
  • If your computer includes a system recovery CD, you can bypass needing to enter a keyboard shortcut by simply restarting the computer with the CD inserted into the optical drive.
  • Destructive System Recovery is only to be used as a last resort when troubleshooting a computer problem. This process will format the hard drive, and all information currently on it will be lost. HP recommends that all internal and external hard drives except the primary operating system be disconnected before starting this process.

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